Heidi and Marie here—thanks to Amara for hosting our final day of our excerpt blog tour!
We had so much fun writing about Chicago—we even took a tour of Vinnie and Trey’s neighborhood during RT’s con last year, and found out that Little Italy’s idea of “salad” is a huge flank of steak over some lettuce and tomato. We picked out Trey’s house—Marie was amazed to see how close-together everything was—and picked out the corner for Emilio’s. Of course we had to put in Boystown too, and Buckingham Fountain.
The jazz club, however, is our invention entirely. Certainly there should be one like it in Boystown, though—at least we think so.
The jazz bar was a lot busier than it had been the other night they’d come, but it was still ten times more pleasant than that awful gay bar where he’d met up with Trey the last time. A live band played “In a Sentimental Mood” almost as good as Ellington and Coltrane. The dance floor was full, as was the bar, and all the tables. He caught a glance of himself in the mirror and saw that Rach was right, he looked damn fine. Trey too, and the two of them looked good together.
Vince grinned. All he needed was a scotch and a cigar and the moment would be damn near perfect.
He nodded to the bar. “Want anything to drink?”
“Sure thing.” Vince pulled out his wallet and elbowed into a free space to order. He got a bottle of water for Trey and a scotch neat for himself.
Trey took the water and smiled, but Vince couldn’t help but notice his date’s gaze drift down to his scotch, and that his expression went a little flat at the sight of the drink. If he hadn’t indulged in a single malt call, he might have put it aside and forgotten about it.
Instead he sipped even more casually than normal and kept watching Trey for clues as to why his ordering a scotch was such a bad thing. They stood there for a few minutes, until the song ended. When a new one started, Vince eased back happily against the wall behind him.
“Somebody in this band likes Coltrane.” He took a sip of his scotch and basked in the sultry saxophone. “I like this band.”
“Do you listen to a lot of jazz?”
“Oh yeah. But Coltrane is my favorite. Nobody has been able to make a sax sing like he could. These guys don’t do too badly.”
Trey leaned against the wall too, but he sagged a bit against Vince’s side. “It’s so…I don’t know. Not soft, but relaxing. Easy. I feel like I could float away.”
“That’s the idea. Jazz seduces you.” Seeing that Trey had drained his water bottle, Vince took one more sip of scotch, leaned over to put the unfinished glass on the bar and held out his hand. “Ready to dance?”
Beaming, Trey took his hand.
They found a bit of open floor space up front by the band. Vince herded them off to the side, in part because he was still a little self-conscious about dancing with a man, in part because it was dark there, and he liked the idea of dancing in the dark with Trey.
Still, when Trey settled into his arms, fitting their bodies close together, Vince watched the other couples to see who was watching him. A few were, though most didn’t seem to care, too wrapped up in each other. Maybe some of those who noticed looked like they didn’t care for two guys dancing. Maybe he read into it.
They weren’t the only same-sex couple on the floor, either. Two other male couples and a female pair were scattered amongst the heterosexuals. Realizing he’d just lumped himself in with the not-heterosexual crowd, the skee-ball went berserk inside Vince again, this time finding every gutter.
He shut his eyes and tried to shut off his stupid head, tried instead to focus on Trey.
It was a good distraction. God, but Trey just fit in his arms. A lot of women had, yeah, but not like this. It felt completely different to hold a man. Trey’s body was harder, more filled out, and in more than that hard ridge pressing against the front of Vince’s trousers. He smelled different too. Like a man. And it was so…right.
The band was playing Sinatra now, a smooth-voiced tenor singing “Like Someone in Love”. Vince pulled Trey closer, fitting their bodies so tight together they were nearly fused. He didn’t hide his erection, and when Trey shifted against him, subtly increasing the friction in time to the beat, Vince didn’t let it do anything but fuel the pleasure of the moment.
Trey nuzzled Vince’s neck, his nose, then his lips brushing Vince’s collar, his skin. “Vinnie?”
“Mmm?” Vince nuzzled back.
Trey’s lips moved along Vince’s jaw, tickled his ear. “This is a date.”
Vince grinned and rubbed the scruff of his cheek alongside Trey’s. “Yeah.”
Those tickling lips brushed his lobe, and a tongue darted out, making Vince shiver. “I want another one.”
The tongue had made Vince shiver, but those words shimmied right down to the bottom of his belly. “Sure.”
Slim hands gripped his hips, fingers curling into his backside. “I want a kiss.”
The heat slid lower, setting all of Vince into a slow, steady burn. He didn’t say anything, just pulled his head back far enough to meet Trey’s gaze, angle his head and close in on his mouth.
It started almost sweet, but they were both hard, both kneading hands into each other, and fuck if Trey didn’t taste more exotic than anything in the world. He worried for a second that Trey would dislike the scotch on his breath, but then Trey pushed him deeper into the shadows, into an alcove behind the speaker, and Vince didn’t worry about anything at all.
There was something incredibly freeing about being this turned on and being somewhat secluded. They were hidden but at the same time couldn’t go too far because they were still, technically, on a dance floor in a respectable establishment. Much as he wanted to undo Trey’s pants and take his cock in hand, as ready as he suddenly was for that kind of thing, he couldn’t, and it was a little bit of a relief.
Instead he ground against Trey’s pelvis like he was trying to screw him to the wall, and the soft, gasping noises Trey made only inspired Vince to dig his fingers deeper into Trey’s backside. The kiss was deep and crazy, mouths mating, tongues tangling, Trey’s hands pulling Vince in closer and closer until they almost couldn’t breathe. Vince’s nipples pebbled beneath his shirt, so stiff they jutted like rocks, super-sensitized points that made him moan against Trey’s lips.
Eventually the delicious tease turned over though, and common sense warned Vince he needed to slow the fuck down or he was going to come all over the inside of his pants. Trey seemed to be in a similar place, because when Vince pulled back, easing out of the kiss slowly, Trey didn’t draw him back, just held on tight, breathing hard.
When he was able, Vince said, “Will that do?”
Sometimes family chooses you.
How does a man get to be forty without knowing whether he’s gay? That’s a question Vince Fierro is almost afraid to answer. If he is gay, it’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, he can’t help but wonder if he’s been playing for the wrong team.
There’s only one way to settle it, once and for all—head for Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.
Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek to the sultry strains of Coltrane, Trey finds himself wanting to help Vinnie figure things out—no promises, and no sex.
It seems like a simple plan, until their “no-sex” night turns into the best date of their lives and forges a connection that complicates everything.
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state's LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway. You can find her at www.MarieSexton.net.